Area Swimmers Primed for State
Durkin enters final tourney as Park swimming coach
WHEELING — Wheeling Park coach Pat Durkin is planning on hanging up his coach’s whistle following the 2019-20 swimming season.
Although, this week’s West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission State Swimming Championships will be his last meet, he still prefers the main focus to be on the kids.
“I’ll miss the kids,” Durkin said. “None of the personal accolades come true without the kids and a good assistant coach in Amy Hensler, who has been with me for 12 years but I think this should be a good swim meet for us.”
Durkin will have plenty to look forward to in his final hurrah.
Junior Abby Turner is coming back as the defending state champion in the 50 and 100-yard freestyles. She enters both events as the No. 2 seed with times of 24.96 and 53.71, respectively.
A year ago, she won the 100 crown with a time of 52.90.
Looking to earn her first state title this time around is junior Jenna Bopp, who is the top seed in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:06.59. She claimed runner-up honors in the event a season ago with a mark of 1:06.92.
Bopp is also the No. 3 seed in the 200 Individual Medley (2:15.70).
“I think Jenna and Abby — we’re looking for them to come home with state championships,” Durkin said.
The Wheeling Park girls’ 400 free relay team of Turner, Bopp and freshmen Lacie Langmyer and Maddie Ross is the No. 2 seed (3:48.45). That group of girls will also participate in the 200 medley relay (1:56.35) as the No. 3 seed.
“Our relay teams on the girls’ side looks really good,” Durkin said. “Unfortunately, we probably don’t have the numbers to beat George Washington. GW has a really strong team but we will be very competitive for second place.”
Langmyer is the No. 4 seed in the 200 (2:02.61) and 500 freestyle (5:38.51) events.
The Park boys are spearheaded by the 200 medley relay team of seniors Devanand Kuttan and Max Kellas, junior Isaac McCabe and sophomore Owen Leary, which earned the No. 3 seed at 1:46.32.
That same group is also ranked fourth heading into the 400 relay (3:37.01).
“On the boys’ side, we’re taking all four senior boys down,” Durkin said. “They will have a nice chance to be in the Top 3 or Top 4. They look pretty good and if they swim like they did at regionals, I’ll be extremely happy.”
Kuttan is also the No. 4 seed in the 200 IM (2:10.00).
John Marshall’s Victoria Kidney is the top seed in the 100-yard backstroke (58.63) and the No. 2 seed in the 200 IM (2:11.67).
Alex Postle earned the No. 6 seed in the breaststroke (1:07.00), while the Monarchs’ girls’ 200 relay team of Laura Siler, Zara Zervos, Katie Cochran and Kidney is the No. 9 seed (1:50.76).
“I’m really excited,” JM coach Courtney Wheeling said. “We have 10 kids going to state — eight individuals — which I believe is an improvement that I’m really happy about.
Even to add on to that, kids who maybe only swam a relay last year in one event are now swimming in two individual events.
“We’re just looking for everyone to swim their best meet and hopefully get a best time and a good experience.”
Brooke’s boys’ 200 medley relay squad of seniors Brandyn Rouse and Anthony Taylor and juniors Ethan Robey and John Francis enter as the No. 5 seed (1:49.79).
They are also the No. 6 seed in the 400 relay (3:40.58).
Robey is the No. 5 seed in the breaststroke (1:06.74) and the No. 6 seed in the 500 free (5:14.18).
Sophomore Veronica Mann leads the Brooke girls as the No. 6 seed in the 100 free (56.30).
Junior Lauren Garan paces Wheeling Central as the No. 10 seed in the 50 free (26.24), while the boys’ 200 medley relay team of senior Cole Saseen and sophomores John Emmerth, Caden Ondrejko and Kelly Riedel is the No. 12 seed (1:53.90).
Weir senior Chris Hoover earned No. 5 seeds in the 200 free (1:53.66) and the 100 free (51.87).